Book Review: The Foundling

     The Constable pointed to Willy’s bundle. “This yours?”
     Willy nodded. “All my clothes”
     “Your mummy left you and all your clothes?”
     “Yes.” Willy drew himself up. “And she said the Constable would collect me very soon.”
     “Really!” The Constable pulled his hand from his pocket and jabbed his chest with his thumb. “I’m that very person. It seems your to come with me.” This was the third child he had found abandoned in the parish since Christmas. The infant girl had not lived long enough to be christened. He did not know about the boy.

And so, at four years old, Willy begins his life as a foundling. Each season of his life brings new experiences, new things to learn, and new obstacles to conquer.

My copy of this book is very well-loved (translation: beat up) from being read and re-read many times. I highly recommend it.

Audience: The Foundling is written at a teen reading level and would be an ideal family read-aloud.

Study Guide Provided by the Publisher 
The Foundling on Amazon

Book Review: Wild Thing (Winnie the Horse Gentler)

My mom used to say, “Winnie Willis, in the beginning God created heaven and earth and horses. And sometimes I have to wonder if the good Lord shouldn’t have quit while He was ahead.”

After their mother’s death Winnie and her sister have come to expect several moves a year. Lizzie hates it. Winnie doesn’t much care. Doesn’t care until she meets a beautiful but mostly wild horse called Wild Thing.

“Lizzie,” I said, calling up my mind’s picture of the rearing Arabian, “I have to have that horse. And I’ll do whatever it takes to get her.”

Can Wild Thing help patch up Winnie’s heart and her relationship with her father, or will the horse make Winnie’s heart break again?

Audience: Anyone old enough to read it on their own (good horse story and no boyfriends)

Book Review: A Father’s Promise

Rudi Kaplan is a young Christian Jew living in Warsaw. When the Nazi army invades his city, life grows increasingly difficult. When things are tough, though, Rudi knows he can depend on his father. That is, until his father tells him he must leave.

“I can’t–I just can’t go alone.”

But he must.

“The forest is God’s secret place for you, Rudi. There–there you shall be under His shadow, where you will be safe. Please, son, please don’t let me down.”

A place of safety. As Rudi obeys his father, he is painfully aware that his father has not made the same promise concerning himself. As he struggles to survive the war, Rudi must learn to trust his heavenly father as well as his earthly one.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Audience: 11 and up, or family read-aloud

Book Review: Bright Freedom’s Song


“The first time Bright had seen a brown face, she had been six years old, so proud of being allowed to gather eggs from the henhouse. She had gone alone into the small, dark log building her father had built to protect the eggs from the fox that sometimes wandered the yard at night.”

~*~

Bright still remembers the fright she got from finding human eyes peering at her from inside the henhouse. Those eyes belonged to her father’s friend Marcus, an escaped slave who helps on the Underground Railroad. As Bright gets involved in her parent’s Underground Railroad station, she begins to learn just how important freedom is.

Visit author Gloria Houston’s website.
Read the first two chapter of the book on Amazon.

Book Review: William Henry is a Fine Name

Jake pushed a greasy hank of hair off his forehead and hitched up his pants. “I guess whipping your pa for trespassing last week wasn’t enough, William Henry. We’ll see who thinks he’s funny when I tell my pa that darkies and white trash is stealing our fish.”

I felt William Henry’s muscles tense beside me, but his mouth never twitched.

~*~

Robert’s best friend is black, his father works on the Underground Railroad, and his mother still clings to the mindset of the plantation she grew up on. When his mother takes Robert to her childhood home, he meets his grandfather and finds himself trying to rationalize slavery. When he sees two runaway slaves brutally punished he realizes that the “peculiar institution” of the south cannot be rationalized. Will he make the right choice when people’s lives depend on him?

Visit author Cathy Gohlke’s website.
Read the first chapter on amazon.

Book Review: Chosen Ones (The Aedyn Chronicles)

“From deep within the shadows of the trees, a hooded figure watched her. Two children were needed to fulfill the prophecy–when would the other appear?”

In a story that is like the Chronicles of Narnia in both plot and writing style, two children arrive at their grandparents home for what promises to be a boring vacation. When Julia discovers that her grandparent’s garden glows when there is no moon, she is intrigued. Scientific Peter does not believe her until he sees it for himself. When they both hear a voice calling them, they step into the silver pool and are whisked into another world.

In the new world, they have new power, but power can corrupt. Three evil lords have enslaved the people and forbidden the remembrance of the Lord of Hosts. An old man tells Julia that she is called to deliver the people. Will she and Peter resist the temptations thrown at them and fulfill the prophecy?

Though I wasn’t thrilled with the writing style, if you like the Chronicles of Narnia, you’ll probably enjoy this story too. The allegorical theme is harder to follow in Chosen Ones, but many aspects of it seem to be drawn directly from The Magicians Nephew and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Happy reading!

Chosen Ones: book 1 in the Aedyn Chronicles

Slang of the 1800s

Everyday Life in the 1800sIn every time period there are slang words. If you’re a writer and your story takes place 150 years ago (like one of mine does) it is important to know what words people were saying back then. In addition to being important for writers, the slang of yesteryear can be the “beatingest” fun. Here is a sampling of words used in the 1800s.

Acknowledge the corn: to admit the truth

Allow: to admit; to be of the opinion

Balderdash: nonsense; empty babble

Beatingest: anything (or anyone) that beats the competition

Chirk: cheerful

Picayune: used to signify something small or frivolous

Whip one’s weight in wild cats: to defeat or beat an opponent

Source: The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s